Optimise learning with toymate's playtime tips
With an abundance of children’s toys on the market, with more colours, designs, lights, bells, and whistles than we as parents could ever imagine finding in a toy store, it’s no surprise we are often left feeling overwhelmed at the options available for our children. But how do we know which toys are best, not only for their enjoyment but for encouraging their developmental growth as well?
We teamed up with Toymate, one of Australia’s leading toy stores, to look at some important developmental milestones, and the best toys to facilitate learning and exploration.
“Obviously, safety comes first” says Anna from Toymate, “however it’s important to explore the options for each milestone age too. As you child grows, so does their capacity to explore a broader range of toys, best suited for their developmental stage”.
Toddlers (ages 1 - 3) are busy little humans and are learning to walk, run, hop, skip, climb and jump! Toys that can support these activities come highly recommended. The Vtech Push & Ride Alphabet Train is a great option to get little muscles moving and promote independent play. With features to encourage learning and exploration, as well as both sit-down and push-along options, little ones are sure to get great value out of this toy throughout their toddler years. Little fingers get a fine-motor workout, too, with blocks to stack, pages to flip and interactive gadgets to discover at every turn.
When toddlers become pre-schoolers (aged 4 - 5), they will further develop their fine motor skills through arts and crafts, stickers, cutting, pasting or building. The Crayola Silly Scents Mini Art includes crayons, markers and colouring pages for your pre-schooler to create brightly coloured art that not only looks good, but engages their sense of smell too. Give young artists the tools and inspiration to create new works of art with this versatile art kit.
By the time kids enter primary school (5 - 6 +), their world opens up and they are confronted with an influx of new experiences and stimulus, especially in the school environment. Perfect for inquiring young minds, a science experiment kit like the Curious Universe - Discover Electricity activity, will see Primary Schoolers explore the wonders of electricity as they make their own amazing lemon-powered clock, create electric circuits and experiment with static electricity. By combining the items in this kit with common household objects, the Understanding Electricity book shows science enthusiasts how to do super-exciting experiments, simply and safely, at home.
And what about for little people with different needs, who may require extra support to process information or concentrate? Sensory support toys are wide ranging and may include tactile experiences like sticky, bumpy, or squishy items. They also help with self-regulation, problem solving skills, strengthening of small muscles in the hands, and improvement in coordination and fine motor skills. The Puzzle Ball is a a handheld ball with textural dimples, which can help to calm busy minds and nervous bodies. Shoes & Sox is also proud to offer a range of bubble pop fidget toys, with 10% of sales donated to Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect).
Children’s toys are not only intended to entertain, but to enhance kids’ fine and gross motor skills, social interaction, language, and imaginative skills. As parents and carers, learning about developmental stages can be extremely helpful in getting the most out of toy purchases and play time.
Written by Elissa Savage
Imagery by @mamaofsons_